Deuterium isotopomers as a tool in environmental research
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
This thesis describes the development and the use of quantitative deuterium Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy (NMR) as a tool in two areas of environmental research: the study of long term climate-plant interactions and the source tracking of persistent organic pollutant.
Long-term interactions between plants and climate will influence climate change during this century and beyond, but cannot be studied in manipulative experiments. We propose that long tree rings series can serve as records for tracking such interactions during past centuries.
The abundance of the stable hydrogen isotope deuterium (D) is influenced by physical and biochemical isotope fractionations. Because the overlapping effects of these fractionations are not understood, studies of the D abundance of tree rings led to conflicting results. We hypothesized that both types of fractionations can be separated if the D abundance of individual C-H groups of metabolites can be measured, that is if individual D isotopomers are quantified.
The first paper describes a technique for quantification of D isotopomers in tree-ring cellulose by NMR. The technique showed that the D isotopomers distribution (DID) was non-random. Therefore, the abundance of each isotopomer potentially contains individual information which suggests an explanation for the conflicting results obtained by measuring the overall D abundance (dD).
In the second paper, this technique was used to study hydrogen isotope exchange during cellulose synthesis in tree rings. This revealed that some C-H positions exchange strongly with xylem water, while others do not. This means that the exchanging C-H positions should acquire the D abundance of source water, which is determined by physical fractionations, while non-exchanging C-H positions of tree-ring cellulose should retain biochemical fractionations from the leaf level. Therefore, the abundance of the corresponding D isotopomers should contain information about climate and physiology. When analysing tree-ring series, the DIDs should reflect information about temperature, transpiration and regulation of photosynthesis.
In the third paper, we showed that CO2 concentration during photosynthesis determines a specific abundance ratio of D isotopomers. This dependence was found in metabolites of annual plants, and in tree-ring cellulose. This result shows that D isotopomers of tree-ring series may be used to detect long-term CO2 fertilisation effects. This information is essential to forecast adaptations of plants to increasing CO2 concentrations on time scales of centuries.
In the fourth paper, the source of persistent organic pollutants in the environment was tracked using DID measurements. The dD values of two compounds of related structures were not enough to show indisputably that they did not originate from the same source. However, the DIDs of the common part between the two compounds proved that they did not originate from the same source. These results underline the superior discriminatory power of DIDs, compared to dD measurements.
The versatility of DID measurements makes them a precious tool in addressing questions that can not be answered by dD measurements.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Medicinsk kemi och biofysik , 2006. , 45 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1070
deuterium, NMR, isotopomers, CO2 response, climate reconstruction, persistent pollutants, stable isotopes
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-938ISBN: 91-7264218-1OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-938DiVA: diva2:145123
2006-12-08, KB3A9, Kemi Huset, Umeå University, Umeå, 13:30 (English)
Robins, Richard, Dr
Schleucher, Jürgen, ProfHögberg, Peter, Prof
Betson, Tatiana R2006-11-202006-11-202009-09-30Bibliographically approved
List of papers